Dot-to-dot difficulties: a different kind of design challenge

Dot-to-dot difficulties: a different kind of design challenge

Dot-to-dot puzzles aren’t difficult. Right?

Follow the numbers, point-to-point, dot-to-dot, and – lo! – the picture is revealed.

Except, sometimes, you find yourself in the opposite situation. You have a picture and what you need are some dots.

Ashburton activity book launch poster

Tomorrow, in the Information Centre in Ashburton, where I live, a brand new Activity Book will be launched. I was commissioned by a local group to produce the artwork for the book and I was thrilled to get involved. And I had ideas. Oh yes! I had ideas.

We brainstormed what the book should contain (it is A4-sized, 12 pages, something cheap and fun for locals and visitors to enjoy on a rainy Devon day). Colouring-in was a must, as were a gameboard and some quizzes. What about a maze? Good idea. Spot-the-difference? Absolutely. Dot-to-dot? Go for it!

It has been great fun working on the artwork for this, trying to incorporate as many different local pieces of colour as I can (metaphorically speaking; the book is in black and white). Another local artist, Pete Webb, has also contributed a couple of pieces to the book, including a steam train for the back cover, and the commissioning group have weighed in with the text and quiz material. I then designed the layout and produced the final proofs, ready to be printed.

Ashburton activity book design and layout

The trickiest part, however, was that dot-to-dot.

I drew the line art for the picture and then I stopped, and I scratched my head. Which lines shouldn’t be there? The trick, you see, is that the line between dots must be continuous. The pencil starts at 1 and moves to 2, then to 3, then to 4, then to… Well, you get the idea. Could I find a continuous path around the drawing that a child’s pencil could follow? And, if I did, which parts of the drawing would need to remain in place around the dots? Would it work, or look a mess?

There was a lot of scribbling and a red pen involved.

But I got there in the end. Now, 91 dots lead you around the drawing and, yes, I have tested it. In fact, so have some local guinea pigs (children, not actual guinea pigs) and they all seemed happy. I really hope that all the children who buy the book will also be happy. If it helps, there’s a fun fact about elephants on that page, in case you get bored by all the dots…

The book will be on sale around Ashburton from next week, priced at £1.50, and proceeds go to supporting the Ashburton Information Centre, the Ashburton Museum, and the St Lawrence Chapel.

If you’re ever down our way and need a distraction, go on, grab a copy!


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